Sarum Time Line

A detailed history appears in Edwards, Kathleen. ‘The Cathedral Church of Salisbury’, A History of the County of Wiltshire III:153-210. London: Victoria County History, 1956.


ca. 705: Diocese of Sherbourne founded by St. Aldhelm, Abbot of Malmesbury; Sherbourne Abbey served by Benedictine monks from about 993.

1045: Hereman elected Bishop of Ramsbury

1058: Hereman additionally elected Bishop of Sherboune

1070: Motte-and-bailey castle built at Old Sarum.

Old Sarum Cathedral

For an archeological history of this building, see “Old Sarum,” in Ancient and Historical Monuments in the City of Salisbury, (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1977), 1-24.

1075: Council of London (under Archbishop Lanfranc) names Hereman of Wilton Bishop of Sarisberie, uniting the former sees of Sherbourne and Ramsbury into a single diocese. The first cathedral was begun shortly thereafter.

1078: Osmund succeeds Hereman as Bishop of Sarum (June 3).

1086, August 1: Domesday Book presented to William I at Old Sarum Castle.

ca. 1089: Cathedral Chapter of 36 canons established.

1092, Tuesday, April 5: First cathedral consecrated. (struck by lightning and partially destroyed 5 days later)

1099, Dec. 3: Death of Osmund; succeeded by Roger, although his consecration was delayed for five years.

Early 12th century

Four principal dignitaries, Dean, Precentor, Chancellor, and Treasurer, established.

ca 1120: Enlargement of the first cathedral completed under Bishop Roger, including, abutting on the north, the undercroft (treasury) with vestry above, these latter seemingly replacements for an earlier treasury and vestry.

1122: Bishop Roger gives up the title of Abbot of Sherbourne; Prior Thurstan becomes the First Abbot of Sherbourne (as well as a Canon of Salisbury).

ca. 1130s: Bishop Roger extends the transepts and eastern the eastern arm of the first cathedral.  Cloister built to the north afterwards.

ca. 1150: Bishop Jocelin de Bohon obtains permission from Archbishop Theobald to move the Feast of Relics to September 15.

ca. 1150-70: Bishop Jocelin builds a new residence and cloister to the north of the cathedral, and narthex at the west end; expands the number of canons to at least 42.

ca. 1163?: Feast of the Holy Trinity adopted.

1172: Council of Cashel (Ireland) decrees conformation of Irish liturgy with English practice.

1173, December 29: presumably the first Sarum offering of the mass and office for St. Thomas Becket. (See Owain Tudor Edwards, Matin, Lauds and Vespers for St. David’s Day (1990):161.)

1184, November 18: Death of Bishop Jocelin.

1194, June 12: Bishop Herbert Poore enthroned at Old Sarum.

ca. 1197-99: Plans begin to be made for the new cathedral and town.

Early 13th century: Dean Richard Poore develops plans for the new cathedral and liturgical practices and customs and ‘Ordinale’ of Sarum.

‘Let us descend joyfully to the plains, where the valley abounds in corn, where the fields are beautiful, and where there is freedom from oppression.’  Canon Peter of Blois

1208, March 23: England placed under interdict by Pope Innocent III.

1214: Interdict lifted. Constitutions of 1214 and 1222 indicate that every  canon, resident or non-resident was bound to have a vicar to perform the cathedral services

1215: Fourth Lateran Council

1217: January 7: Bishop Herbert Poore dies.

1217, June: Richard Poore elected Bishop.

1218, March 29: Pope Honorius III formally approves the removal of the cathedral to New Sarum (Salisbury).

The New Cathedral at Salisbury

1219: April 8: Temporary wooden chapel constructed at the new site, consecrated on Trinity Sunday, June 2, 1219.  This may have been on the site of the present Church of St. Thomas.  The churchyard was dedicated on the same day.

1219, November 1: Official transmigration of the cathedral body to the site of the new Salisbury Cathedral.  (It would appear that with the closing of the old cathedral the south nave aisle of the old cathedral became the chapel of St. Mary.)

1220, Tuesday, April 28: Foundation stones of new Salisbury Cathedral laid.

c. 1220: Sarum Use adopted at St.Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin (Sally Harper, Music in Welsh Culture Before 1650: 199).

c. 1220: Salisbury Cathedral School established

1224: elements of Sarum Use adopted at St. David’s Cathedral, Wales (Sally Harper, Music in Welsh Culture Before 1650: 199).

1225, Sunday September 28: The three eastern altars dedicated at Salisbury Cathedral.

1225: Bishop Richard Poore institutes daily sung mass of the Blessed Virgin with 13 vicars choral, Salisbury Cathedral.

1225, Monday, September 29: Cardinal Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury preaches and celebrates mass at the new altar, Salisbury Cathedral.

1225, Thursday, October 2: Visit by King Henry III.

1226, Sunday June 14: Coffins of Osmund, Roger, and Jocelin translated from Old Sarum to the new cathedral on Trinity Sunday.

1228, May: Bishop Richard Poore appointed to Durham Cathedral.

ca. 1236: Choir stalls and pulpitum erected, Salisbury Cathedral.

by 1242: Sarum Use reaches Moray,  Scotland. (Sally Harper, Music in Welsh Culture Before 1650: 200).

1244-45: Commencement of services in the new choir and presbytery, Salisbury Cathedral.

13th c. — Spread of Sarum Use to other dioceses, including Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

13th c. Principal historical Sarum manuscripts.

1245: Hospital of St. Nicholas founded on Harnham Bridge, Salisbury, with chapels dedicated in honour of St. John he Baptist and St. Nicholas, with a warden and three priests.  This hospital continues as an almshouse to this day.

1246: Salisbury adopts the feast of the Deposition of St. Edmund, Archbishop, displacing Ss. Primus and Felician. (Edmund had been Treasurer of Salisbury Cathedral, 1222-34).

1247: Salisbury adopts the feast of the Translation of S. Edmund, Archbishop.

1240s: Completion of the treasury and muniment room, Salisbury Cathedral.

1250s: Completion of the west front, Salisbury Cathedral.

1258 (1257? or 1283?): Bishop William de Bondington adopts the Sarum Use at Glasgow Cathedral (William Lockhart, ‘Churches Consecrated in Scotland’, Proceedings of the Society, 1886:193.)

1258, Sunday September 29: Salisbury Cathedral consecrated by Archbishop Boniface , in the presence of Henry III, Queen Eleanor, Princes Edward and Edmund, and many other dignitaries.  Feast of the Dedication observed September 30 each year, until 1536.

1260-62?: Feast of St. Richard of Chichester adopted.

1262: House of the Valley Scholars of Blessed St. Nicholas, Salisbury, founded by Bishop Giles de Bridport

The commemoration of the Blessed Virgin henceforth with two rulers of the choir.

1263: Chapter House completed at Salisbury Cathedral.

1264: Salisbury adopts the Feast of Corpus Christi–although its introduction into the Sarum liturgy may have been as late as 1317.

c. 1265: Cloister completed at Salisbury Cathedral.

1269: Collegiate Church of St. Edmund, Salisbury (St. Edmund’s College and parish of St. Edmund’s) founded by Bishop Walter de la Wyle

ca 1270: Walter Scammel, Treasurer, later Dean and Bishop of Salisbury, institutes daily mass at the altar of St. Edmund the Confessor, middle chapel of the great north transept.

1314:  Bishop Ghent provides financial support for the 14 choristers at Salisbury Cathedral, and a master to teach grammar.

1319: Feast of Relics moved from September 15 to July, on the Sunday following the Translation of St. Thomas of Canterbury.

1320-30: Spire completed at Salisbury Cathedral.

1322: Bishop Montival provided a house for the choristers in the close

by 1325: Saum Use very widespread throughout the province of Canterbury, Hereford excepted.

1327-31: Salisbury close wall built with stone from the ruins of Old Sarum.

[1337: Grandisson, Ordinale (Exeter).)

ca. 1340: Ordinal Wellwyk (not extant) compiled by Thomas de Welewick (Precentor, 1341-43) ; see Frere,, The Use of Sarum II:xx.

by 1350: Sarum Use almost completely introduced throughout the province of Canterbury, Hereford excepted.

1350-1400: the’New Ordinal’ introduced.

1365-75: John Wycliffe’s tracts attacking the Sarum Ordinal.

1378: Feast of St. Anne introduced into England.  Mandated for the Province of Canterbury by Archbishop William Courtenay on May 18, 1383, in honour of the marriage of Richard II and Anne of Bohemia in 1381.

ca. 1390: Exeter adopts the Sarum Ordinal under Bishop Thomas Brantingham (Pfaff 2009:411).

1395: Bishop John Waltham endows the choristersat Salisbury Cathedral  to sing an antiphon to the Blessed Virgin daily after compline (and presumably after the devotion ‘pro pace ecclesie’) in his memory (see 1540 below).

1398: Sts. David, Chad and Wenefrede added to the Sarum Kalendar and throughout the southern province as simple feasts of nine lessons by Roger Walden, Archbishop of Canterbury (Wilkins, Concilia III:235).

1398: The weekly commemoration of St. Thomas the martyr established in the Province of Canterbury by Roger Walden, Archbishop of Canterbury.

1409: Vicars choral incorporated by Henry IV at Salisbury Cathedral; a common hall established for the vicars in the north walk of the close; votive mass of the Name of Jesus indulgenced by Bishop Robert Hallam.

1411: Missa de Nomine Jesu indulgenced by the Bishop of Salisbury.

1414-15: Diocese of London adopts Sarum Use.

1415: Sts. David, Chad, and Winifred added to the Sanctorale by Archbishop Chichele as ‘cum regimine chori’.

1443: John Caryter endows the singing of ‘Nunc Christe te petimus’ each evening by the choristers before the Rood at Salisbury Cathedral. (Bowers 1975:5084)

before 1450: Clement Maydeston, Directorium sacerdotum.

ca. 1450-55: John Raynton, Crede michi, original version.

1451: St. Gabriel (18 March) observed by Salisbury Chapter.

1452: New campaign for the canonization of Blessed Osmund begun.

1456: Feast of the Transfiguration adopted. (1457?, 1480?); St. Raphael (October 5) observed in Salisbury Cathedral.

1456-57: St Osmund canonized (Jan. 1 1457) by Pope Callistus III; Feast of St. Osmund, and Feast of Translation added.

1457, Thursday, July 16: Translation of St. Osmund to a new shrine at Salisbury Cathedral.  Some believe that the shrine was located in the centre of the Trinity Chapel.  I believe that it was located in the easternmost bay of the presbytery, behind the high altar.

1457: Feast of the Name of Jesus added. (1480?)

1469: Ordered at Salisbury Cathedral that thenceforth the singing at daily Lady Mass be undertaken only by certain of the vicars recognized as those in cantu peritiores (skilled in singing).  (Bowers 1975:6096.)  This reflects the growing importance of polyphony in the Lady Mass.

ca. 1475: First Sarum Breviary printed.

1477: Caxton’s Ordinal fragments.

later 15th c.: Polyphonic lady masses introduced in Salisbury Cathedral by Bishop Richard Beauchamp

1479-80: Lierne vault of the central crossing installed at Salisbury Cathedral.

1480: Feast of the Visitation added (1431, Sally Harper, Music in Welsh Culture).  Feasts of the Visitation, St. Osmund, St. Frideswide and St. Etheldreda prescribed by Achbishop Thomas Bourchier for Canterbury province.

1486: First Sarum Missal printed (Basel: Michael Wennsler).

1487: Crede michi first printed

ca. 1490: Lay-vicars begin to be used at Salisbury Cathedral

1508: First Sarum Gradual printed.

1518: First Sarum Hymnal printed.

1519-20: Sarum Antiphonale printed.

1523: All dedication feasts in the City of London (and suburbs) transferred to October 3.

1526: Bishop Audley Chapel, with stone base and arch for the Easter Sepulchre, built to the north of the high altar at Salisbury Cathedral.

1534: Act of Supremacy.

1536-: Dissolution of monasteries; by Act of Convocation, July 19, the first Sunday in October appointed as the Feast of Dedication for all churches.

1538: Destruction of shrines sanctioned by Henry VIII.  The Feasts of the Invention of the Cross and the Exaltation of the Cross abrogated.  By royal proclamation, November 16, the cult of St. Thomas the martyr abrogated.  By the second royal injunction, item 15, the weekly commemoration omitted, the ferial service to be used instead.  It would appear that some churches dedicated to St. Thomas were re-named, such as the church or chapel of St. Thomas, Oundle, renamed to St. Mary (Leland Itinerary (1768 ed) I:5.), but clearly not all, as St. Thomas Salisbury remains so named to this day.

1539: An organ placed on the pulpitum screen at Salisbury Cathedral.

1540: The bequest of Bishop John Waltham (see 1395 above) altered to the daily singing of Sancte Deus before the Rood.  (Sancte Deus is the repetendum of the antiphon Media vita for Compline in the third and fourth weeks of Lent.  To that was added three verses beginning ‘Nunc Christe te petimus’.)

1542: Sarum Use adopted throughout the Southern Province of the English Church by Convocation of Canterbury.

1540-1543: The Rationale of Ceremonial.

1545: Official reformed Primer (King’s Primerpublished; all others banned.

1547: Chantries abolished (2347 chantries closed), relics destroyed.

1549, Whitsunday: First Prayer Book of Edward VI.  (Sarum Use abolished).  Daily morning and evening prayer and monthly communion.

1553: Sarum Use re-established, including the three weekly commemorations, of St. Mary, of the place, and of St. Thomas.

1559: Sarum Use abolished, replaced by the Book of Common Prayer.

1560: Catholic (i.e. Sarum) mass outlawed in Scotland


1604: Sacra Institutio Baptizandi . . . juxta usum insignis Ecclesie Sarisburiensis (Douai)

1610-11: Manuale Sacerdotum . . . juxta usum insignis Ecclesie Sarisburiensis (Douai)

1615: Missae aliquot pro sacerdotibus itinerantibus in Anglia (1615):110  includes a votive mass ‘ex missale secundum usum Sarum’.  (See also Missale parvum pro Sacerdotibus in Anglia, Scotia, et Ibernia itinerantibus.)

1627: John Cosin, A Collection of Private Devotions (incorporating some parts of the hours of prayer)

1643: Organ removed from Salisbury Cathedral.

1648: Dean and Chapter abolished at Salisbury Cathedral.  ca. 1650 bishop’s palace demolished.

1660: Dean and Chapter restored at Salisbury Cathedral.

1661: Thomas Harris Organ restored at Salisbury Cathedral.

1671-72: Choir refurbished at Salisbury Cathedral.

1685-88: ‘I have heard (but cannot verify the statement) that in James II’s reign many priests did restore and use the Sarum rite.’, Adrian Fortescue, the Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy (London: Longmans, Green and Co, 1914):207.

1710: New Renatus Harris organ installed at Salisbury Cathedral.

1758: Upper part of Salisbury Cahtedral bell tower demolished.

1777-79: Salisbury Cathedral closed for repairs.

1781: new high east window installed ‘Moses and the Brazen Serpent’ at Salisbury Cathedral.

1789-92: renovations to Salisbury Cathedral, including removal of the old pulpitum, erection of a new one to support the new organ, levelling of the entire floor, erection of a single altar at the very east end, and demolition of the remainder of the bell tower by James Wyatt.  (Cathedral closed for 3 years, until September, 1792).


1814: New altar erected in the chancel of Salisbury Cathedral.

1834: Beginnings of archaeological exploration of Old Sarum.

1836: John Henry Newman, ‘The Roman Breviary as Embodying the Substance of the Devotional Services of the Catholic Church’ (Tracts for the Times)

1840-45: Attempts at a complete translation of the Sarum Breviary by Newman, Keble, Wood, and Pusey.

1842-43: Portiforii Sarum (Seager).

1846: The Ancient Liturgy of the Church of England; Monumenta Ritualia Ecclesiae Anglicanae. (Maskell).

1846-47: “The Ancient Antiphonary of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin: The Consuetudinary of St. Osmund” The British Magazine and Monthly Register XXX (1846):509-518; 652-659; XXXI (1847):22-33; 161-167; 260-267; 404-411 XXXII.

1849-54: The Church of our Fathers (Rock).

1850: The Psalter Noted (A Manual of Plainsong) Helmore.

1851: Hymnarium Sarisburiense; The Hymnal Noted (Neale).

1852: The Psalter (Chambers); Medieval Hymns and Sequences (Neale).

1854: Liddon, Hours of Prayer.

1858: Francis Ligon, The Day Hours of the Church of England

1860s: Sir George Gilbert Scott renovates Salisbury Cathedral, including a new ironwork screen

1861: Hymns Ancient and Modern.

1861-83: Missale Sarum (ed. Dickinson).

1862-1878: Extensive restoration of Salisbury Cathedral by G. G. Scott.

before 1869: The Church of England Society of Sisters of Mercy of Devonport and Plymouth (Sister Amelia), The Breviary of the Renowned Church of Salisbury, Translated into English According to the Use of the Society of the Holy Trinity, Devonport, Rivingtons, 1889.

1870-77: Breviary Offices (Neale); Night Offices of the Church (Neale).

1877: New Willis organ installed at Salisbury Cathedral; Divine Worship in England (Chambers).

1879-86: Breviarium Sarisburiense (Procter and Wordsworth).

1882: Processionale Sarum (Henderson).

1884: The Sarum Missal in English (Pearson).

1894: Graduale Sarisburiense facsimile.

1898-1901: The Use of Sarum (Frere).

ca. 1900-1930: Palmer editions of the Sarum Use in English.

1901: Ceremonies and Processions (Wordsworth).

1901-24: Antiphonale Sarisburiense facsimile (Frere).

1906: The English Hymnal, including a large number of Sarum hymns.

1909-15: Excavation of the site of Old Sarum

1911: The Sarum Missal in English (Warren).

1912-13: Old Sarum Cathedral foundations excavated.

1916: The Sarum Missal (Legg).

1960: Ironwork screen and reredos removed at Salisbury Cathedral.

1971: The Processions of Sarum (Bailey).

1984-99: The Use of Salisbury (Sandon).

ca 1990s: weekly Sarum Compline at St. Paul’s Chapel, Columbia University, directed by Prof. Ian Bent.

1996-97: Sarum Rite celebrated by Fr. Sean Finnigan (with RC episcopal permission) at Merton College Chapel (Church of England), Oxford (10 February 1996 and 2 February 1997, sponsored by The Society of Saint Osmund for the Preservation of the Sarum Rite in the Catholic Church).

2000: Archbishop Conti of Glasgow celebrated the Sarum rite publicly at the quincentennial of Kings College Chapel, University of Aberdeen.

2006-: The Sarum Rite (Renwick).

2006: Chapel of St. Mary the Virgin, Normandy, established, using the Sarum Rite from 2008 (Fr. Anthony Chadwick).

2008: New font installed in Salisbury Cathedral (located several bays to the east of the original font).

ca. 2010: Botel Abbey established (Buittle Castel, Scotland), using the Sarum Rite.

2011-13: The Sarum Customary Online (Harper).

2013, December 10: Rev. Guido Pozzo (Ponticifal Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei’; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Vatican), in a letter to Mr. Hodkinson, confirms that ‘the Use of Sarum . . . has never been formally abrogated’, and indicates that [within the Roman Catholic Church] ‘any celebration of the liturgy according to the Use of Sarum is to be carried out under the supervision and responsibility of the Ordinary.’

2015-18: Sarum Ordinale, BL Harley 1001 (Hackney)

2018-: The Sarum Rite in book-form (Renwick)
-November 25: Sarum Mass at the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace

2021: Chapel of St. Mary the Virgin, Normandy, transferred to Chapel of St. Martin of Tours (Anthony Chadwick)